Committee of Ten

Committee-of-TenMeet the gentlemen responsible for standardizing your high school curriculum.  Prior to the recommendations made by the Committee of Ten in 1892 high school curriculum varied widely in response to the various demands made by the small percentage of the population that decided to pursue education beyond primary school.  Some schools offered rigorous Latin and Greek studies for those going to university.  Some offered more practical studies for those pursuing trades.  And some offered everything in between.

The Committee of Ten ended this diversity by recommending that all high schools adopt a standard curriculum focused on academics no matter what their future plans.  As the Committee put it, “every subject which is taught at all in a secondary school (high school) should be taught in the same way and to the same extent to every pupil so long as he pursues it, no matter what the probable destination of the pupil may be, or at what point his education is to cease.”

Deciding to standardize the high school curriculum opened up a Pandora’s box of issues that still plague us to this day.  The presumption that we can standardize a curriculum for millions of unique individuals would be laughable if it wasn’t so serious.

Sudbury understands this faulty logic and frees students to chart their own course.  A school founded on freedom has no place for a standard curriculum.  By definition a standard curriculum limits the field of inquiry and closes off the world.

Take a good look at the men in this photo and consider the institutional legacy they bequeathed us – a standardized curriculum that takes no account of each unique person and endless fights among leaders, lobbyists, policy makers, teachers and parents over what our young people should learn.

Sudbury offers a real alternative where students have the freedom to take responsibility for their own education and chart a curriculum that is limited only by their imagination.


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